Damn Atlus, you really like to adapt your games with random order, don’t you? Anyways, this is yet another one of those videogames where teenagers summon monsters to defend the world. It has the same director of the Persona 4 (P4) adaptation, which is also a spin-off franchise of this one. I really liked P4 despite its cheesiness and expected Devil Survivor (DS2) to be around the same level but turned out it is a waste of time.
So, the premise is sort of typical for the franchise. Some demons invade the word and some teenagers fight them with their own demons. The problem is that despite the apocalyptic set up, nothing seems to make sense or feels important enough for you to care. You are just thrown into this mess and no real hooks exist for you to give a damn. I mean the main three characters look so dull and typical. As retarded as that other show with cell-phones and future predictions was, Future Diary had a very wimpy boy and a very psychotic girl; extreme enough for you to notice them. Plus you had a freaking god giving them a clear picture of what they have to do right away. This doesn’t happen in DS2 since it has bland main characters and the premise is not anything special or even clear.
Another problem is the action part. It is so simple and boring to the point you again don’t give a damn. They just summon random monsters to fight each other and after a couple of energy attacks it is all over. P4 had similar battles but even there the choreography was more colorful, the bosses were relevant to the main characters, and the characters themselves were funny enough for you to care. Over here you feel nothing, even if the demons kill people by the hundreds in each battle. Who are these people for you to care? Who are these mass-produced identical demons with no relation to the main characters? So what if hell takes over Earth?
Another thing which annoyed me are the cell phones. In this setting they are gateways to hell and all demons invade with portals created by them, or in other cases computers with access to the net. The heroes just press buttons on them and POP appears a monster to fight for them. They can do that as many times as they can and then they expect you to think it is hard or taxing. I mean, ok, in the game you have magic point consumption but the show doesn’t show that and all you get is a bunch of cardboards saving the world by playing videogame applications on their cell phones. GAH WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THE VIDEOGAME SHOWS? When I was a kid you needed to know martial arts or be affected by gamma rays to become strong enough to defend the world. Nowadays it is always about skinny dorks button-mashing consoles. WHERE IS THE FARTING CHALLENGE IN THAT?
The facepalms continue with the obligatory secret organization which is fighting the demons. They have all this super technology and they still are unable to do squat next to three bland gamers. It doesn’t even seem that hard enough to stop them anyways; if the internet is a gateway to hell, then why don’t they simply cut the internet? Or if necessary, the electricity too. Yes, it would throw the world back a few centuries but it is still better to mankind be chopped to little pieces by demons, right? And you know what? It would make a bloody good conflict if that option was available but the corporations or addicted gamers were vertically against cutting the internet or the electricity. WE DON’T GET THAT!
Yet another BS is the artwork itself. Not only the budget is rather low but the character designs are generic and the only thing that stands out is the fan service. Yes, you have demons from hell killing screaming people being less eye-catchy than some random cleavage shots. The main heroine has a huge rack, the videogame has a cosplay mascot girl and the secret organization is run by a half naked slut. JUST BECAUSE! Well if that is the case, then the anime should instead be called Drooling Saliver 2DEEP4U!!!
And even if you somehow endure all the sleep-inducing plot, and the completely uninteresting revelations, you reach to a final showdown where the whole world is basically destroyed and made anew… exactly as it was before. Yup, they took the retarded time reset route where everything is back to normal and the apocalypse is like it never happened. Boy, that sure made the world to realize technology is not to be toyed with. Oh wait, it didn’t since NOBODY REMEMBERS IT!
Meh, what a waste of funds. Atlus, go adapt Persona 2 and make sure to include Hitler.
Spring 2013 Anime Review - Devil Survivor 2
- bureau chief could have been done better
- bit cliche but Japan hasn't done this for a while (Eva OVA is basically ongoing milking so does not count)
- good way to gauge strength is the supporting cast, and they feel weak
- Abrupt transition from eps 4 to 5 after defeating Meruk and Hibiki dips
- Japan is the only place not consumed by the void…
- No indication of foreigners that had spirit potential fighting or coming to Japan...
- Lol, computer systems use japanese, english and french
- Backstory of Makato and Ronaldo was never filled in
- Soundtrack is fitting and great
- Yamato summoned his demons that were consumed in the void… No, just no.
- Lawl they didn't censor the fusion monster's tits xD
- The last few eps had some serious lipdub issues assuming that my playback wasn't wonky
UPDATE: Anime-Planet has removed the Blog feature where this post was originally published on March 23, 2014. I pulled the scores from my ratings, although this is NOT a formal review. Think of it more as “thoughts on…<anime title>”. I wrote my thoughts out as I progressed through the series, so contradictions may occur as my opinion shifts. To shorten the post I took excerpts from the original. Sorry for any inconvenience and please leave your thoughts below! :)
2013 Spring Anime Reviews:
I'll start by saying I've played the Devil Survivor 2 game, and I am a pretty huge fan of both it and its ''prequel''. Both have a grim, increasingly complicated plot, compelling characters you grow to care about, intense battles and plenty of relevant choices to make until you reach one of the final destinations.
And out of the two, in many ways I like the second better, and I was looking forward to this adaptation very much. It isn't really a game that is hard to translate into a TV series (very story-ridden, brimming with action...), and since most people had positive feedback for Persona 4: The Animation (same director), my hopes were pretty high.
As an adaptation, however, this turned out to be a goddamn trainwreck and, as a standalone anime, it is just very mediocre. What I'm truly going to review here is the anime per se since that's what this site is for, but I don't want to miss the chance to throw in a few paragraphs about the game-to-series translation, so if you're not interested in this feel free to scroll down a few paragraphs.
I'm not pulling any punches here: this adaptation sucks donkey balls.
The first episode was decent and I think both game players and new viewers alike appreciated it in general, but after that the whole essence of the game was lost.
First and foremost, the characters. This being just a 13-ep long anime there's no good way at all to develop all of them, but even in these conditions the show does a terrible job. Hibiki, the protagonist, has a 180º personality change compared to the game for the sake of supporting idealistic shonen-ish bullshit, faux heroicity, contrived morals that make no sense and all that crap the industry loves so much. Yamato is made into an uber arrogant douchebag with no balance to his character at all, and his clever social commentary in the game is turned into pretentious nonsense... honestly, I had my fears, but even so I didn't believe it was possible to ruin a character this awesome so damn much. The rest of the characters are even worse because the airtime they get is so scarce and their lines so silly that it's nearly impossible to relate to any of them (especially hurt about Fumi, who was arguably my favorite character in the game and her role here was anechdotal and a fucking bad joke at that). They die and you feel nothing, it's honestly painful to see what they've turned all these characters I liked/loved into. The only character who I sort of liked in this adaptation was Alcor: he was okay, although he's just a shadow of what his game counterpart proved to be, and his very early appearance takes away much of the mystery surrounding him.
The way the story was handled is not as incredibly offensive, but almost so. The way the exposition of the world building is made is meager and confusing, the twists are introduced in a way with no impact whatsoever, they basically do whatever the hell they want with the pacing, order of the revelations and what they choose or not to show (still baffled that they didn't include Fumi's explanation about the Akashic Records and how the whole Nicaea system was based on the past, present and future files stored in that humongous, astral database... they basically left the juiciest bit of plot for me out of the anime). For a game that progressed in such an understandable, yet very interesting, puzzling and increasingly complicated manner, this storytelling was utter bullshit. Not to mention that the show also does whatever it wants with the story itself and the last episodes have nothing to do with the game's ending routes. No multiple decisions, no social commentary, no different factions formed according to each person's beliefs... NOTHING. Just people dying randomly, Yamato being obnoxious as all hell and Hibiki rambling on and on about his ham-fisted morals like an utter retard.
The demon system is not explained at all and its favoring some users over others because ''FUCK IT, NATURAL ABILITY'' takes away most of the charm and POINT of humans having this app for the sake of making Hibiki into some sort of chosen one (whereas he was just a clever, sensible normal guy in the game), while making for example Daichi the fucking butt of the joke in every single episode (until they give him a completely ridiculous ''power-up'' because friendship and shit, that is). The action is not all that interesting, either: it's well animated, but since there's none of the tension and atmosphere from the game you can't help but feel underwhelmed.
I could keep this rant going forever and go into much more detail, but the main interest of this review is another. Overall, as an adaptation this is totally awful. Generous 2/10. Fuck you Seiji Kishi.
Now, let's talk about this as a standalone anime. Granted, it is difficult to put myself in the shoes of a new viewer and consider what my opinion of this would be without the bias of the game - but I've made an effort.
Plot-wise, it's easy to see that this is not a case where it is simply crap with no sense or redeeming values, but more like vastly wasted potential due to the sloppy narrative. You have a very fine premise of young men and women struggling to survive in a world that's quite literally going to hell, with the help of a mysterious program that can foresee their friend's deaths and an app that allows them to summon powerful demons from other worlds. Besides the enemy demons, there are more powerful, strangely shaped weapons of mass destruction of origin unknown bringing chaos and death wherever they go, and an organization dedicated to intercept and kill them off before they annihilate mankind.
No matter how I think of it, that's a cool as hell premise with endless possibilities, and as the episodes go by you can tell there's thought put into it when it is revealed why Japan alone is still standing, who gave mankind the ''death face'' program and demon summoning app and for what purposes, what kind of threat is it that humans are exactly facing and why is it all happening... All of these things and more are touched upon (heavily or slightly), giving the story a sense of direction.
So, then again, what is the big problem? The presentation of it all. As a newbie to the franchise I think I'd have grasped the gist of the story and many of the bits and pieces, but honestly, the introduction of new story elements and plot twists is a damn fine mess. The director and whoever the scriptwriter is clearly had a very vague idea of what they needed/wanted to do with the existing game material, and thus there is not a good sense when it comes to making the revelations impactful, the little bits of spare information assimilable, and the big info-dumps engaging.
This is a deeply flawed narrative due merely to the inability of the staff to give you the right pieces of the puzzle at the right time and in a manner that compels you to ponder about the overall plot, its mysteries and what might be ahead. Moreover, the demon summoning dynamics and such are hardly ever expanded upon and mostly make no actual sense.
It doesn't help, either, that the dialogues are mostly bollocks. Clichéd, unoriginal, they say a lot but almost nothing is particularly meaningful or memorable.
And speaking of the dialogues, shall we talk about the blank-wall cast reciting them? These characters are neither well introduced, nor well developed, nor do they have proper catharsis. The director just throws them in your face and expects you to figure out on your own that they must actually have personalities or something.
There is no valuable characterisation, no remarkably cool moments, no worthwhile interactions other than clichéd melodrama and extremely obvious setup for deaths that will happen before that same episode ends. The cast is in general extremely forgettable and one-dimensional, and some like the protagonist Hibiki or Yamato can get downright annoying with their pretentious nonsense and self-righteous nature for both of their extreme 'moral' positions. I honestly didn't give a heck when these characters lived or died (other than raging at the stupid deaths of some) because you really need to belong to a very shallow audience for this cast to mean anything important to you.
I did like Alcor, though: he managed to be reasonably compelling to follow, the better handled plot revelations were done by him, and he was in general just likeable and with an interesting role to play in the story. However, they constantly beat your head with his ''what am I, why do I feel?'' rethoric, which honestly got pretty tiresome at times. Regardless, he would be for me a bit of a saving grace regarding the cast.
The technical values are okay, both animation and sound departments. The color palette is appropriately dark, the fights are flashy, the demons look cool in general, the character designs are fine and mostly consistent, and I honestly didn't care about the CG usage for the Septentrions. The OST was solid and fit the scenes, but I'm going to deduct points here because the voice acting was incredibly cheesy in many occasions and further contributed to making the characters trite. Props to that ending theme, however: I freaking love it, and it was perfect for wrapping up the otherwise mediocre episodes in a rather despairing, cool note.
Overall this isn't a must for anyone: neither game players nor 'virgin' viewers, but the difference is that for the former group it is a MUST NOT, whereas it is merely a ''watch if you have nothing better to do'' for the latter. Interesting storyline wasted by terribly unfocused scriptwriting, generic underdeveloped characters, and simply good technical values are combined to create something that's very mediocre but at the same time sort of entertaining and not bereft of some worth.
Can you Survive?
I did but barely this anime adapation to Devil Survivor 2 is insulting and ultimately appeals to nobody as a fan you are disgusted as favourite characters of yours from the game are butchered. Anyone who hasn't played the game will get a rushed story where its hard to sympathise with the setting and the character interactions are poor and characters are reduced to anime stereotyping like Io Nitta especially. Io Nitta in the game is incredibly useful person to your party that is by the side of the main character to help unravel the mysterious behind the trial given by the big bad. In the anime she is reduced to a damsel in distress that spents most of her time crying in the corner she has no admirable traits at all and to see an incredible character from the game reduced to this feeble and useless individual is insulting. Unfortunately this is one example of many now lets get on to the core of the story.
Most of the points I gave to the story was because of the main concept of it coming from the game the anime is adapted from however if it didn't rush it so badly then we could have all been in for a real treat as the game is incredible. However in its defence and another reason I give it a 4/10 is because it only had 13 episodes to do it so it wasn't going to be as good as it could have been right away. Anyone who has played the game can tell you that the game has far too much content and at least 12-15 hours of dialogue so that meant a lot of character building was missed out so characters were undeveloped and missed out some of the funniest scenes from the game Fumi's laptop throwing and Airi trying to show sex appeal. The series starts off not too badly actually as it spent a lot of time giving extra scenes to Hibiki, Daichi and Io to build their characters however what wasn't known at the time was character building in a bad way. I will explain that later though in the character section.
It was clear though after the first 4 episodes far too much time had been wasted and the interesting battle scene with Merak the 2nd Seppie was going to be wasted on this mess of a series. The pacing was a mess overall it was as if the series thought it had more time than it actually did which is why the 2nd part was really rushed and the Seppies 5 and 6 got taken out far too quickly. Bifrons got 2 seconds of screen time and didn't even come to aid Alcor in his battle against Yamato later on so he just seemed like a complete waste of time which was very disappointing. It also doesn't help much that Hibiki Kuze the main character in the anime is one of the worst main characters of all time, repeating himself like a broken record, whining all the time and is pretty stupid as he had to ask Alcor the same question twice. Which is as follows.
'Hey Alcor can you help us.' Alcor quite rightly tells Hibiki he can't but what he should have said was. 'So since when did giving you demons to summon and death clips to help avoid the deaths of your friends not count as giving you help?' They are only able to survive at all because Alcor decided to help them as was shown in the battle against Merak human weapons do not help against any of the Seppies. Maybe Alcor should help you wipe your back side too Hibiki while he is at it and talk about ungrateful. On the positive side Alcor fans will be very happy as Alcor is given a lot of screen time and extra scenes and yaoi fans will be even more happy as there is plenty of yaoi bait between Hibiki, Yamato and Alcor.
The final episode was utterly terrible you don't even see the big bad so you don't even know why the big bad has the power to do everything he did or why he did it. More importantly it doesn't even explain how the big bad actually put everything back to normal thus the plot ended as a complete joke and I couldn't bring myself to even give it an average rating despite being loosely based off the game.
I am not the biggest expert on animation but the majority of it is pretty solid but some of the fights just came across as pretty lazy but overall was one of the better looking anime in terms of visuals this season. Especially when matched against the rotocsoping crap of Aku no Hana.
With excellent voice actors and an incredible ending this was easily the strongest point of the anime shame the rest of the anime couldn't be this level of quality as it feels like the high level VAs just wasted their time contributing to this pile of crap.
This is going to be so good! This adapation takes some of the best characters in games as expected from the SMT franchise and then completely butchers them and turns them into insulting stereotypes that nobody cares for or will remember. Whoever came up with the idea to turn the characters into this needs to be fired and fast as they are actually damaging the entire anime industry by lacking variety and imagination.
I regret naming the main character after you in my most recent run of the game because you are awful in fact you are so bad I have put you in my list of top 10 most hated main characters. Here are Hibiki's traits as a main character. Stupid, hypocrite, whines but couldn't have thought of a better alternative himself, broken record and extremely ungrateful. You could argue that he is kind but I can argue what was said by Hikki in the series Yahari that was also aired thise season and that is misplaced kindness is a bad thing. He tries to come across as kind and caring but as pointed out many times by Yamato he couldn't come up with a better alternative and in fact his 'kind' method got 3 characters killed against the 4th Seppie way to go Hibiki you moron.
If he was truly caring and kind he would have done a better job of protecting the characters and keeping them happy as a leader instead of whining like a little bitch the whole time. He also doesn't say thank you to Yamato or Alcor when they help him and instead has a go at them or actually tries to attack him. Regardless of Yamato's reasons for helping him the least he could have done was to say thank you.
The above reasona are more than enough to hate the anime version without even playing the game and its very sad because the game version isn't more powerful than his friends he just reacts to crisis better than they do and was an incredible, compassionate leader. He also helped people get through their problems and was pretty funny on occasion all we get in the anime adapation is someone who is utterly pathetic with no redeeming traits at all.
While he is pretty stupid in both the game and the anime at least in the game he was more endearing and had his moments when in a pinch he could pull through. Instead in the anime they make him a complete joke until near the end where he summons a powerful demon instead of growing as a character.
Damsel in distress she has a pitiful amount of character growth spends most of her time blubbing and not really achieving anything at all in the anime. In the game she is a stoic individual who only cries when her mother dies before her eyes as she knows if she were to weep in a corner she would acheive nothing and she wouldn't survive. The bond between both Io and Hibiki in the game is incredible and it isn't shown at all here apart from she needs a big strong man to come and rescue her as if the Damsel in distress trope wasn't done enough already.
Joe, Ronaldo, Otome and Keita
Joe was an important character for early in the game as he helped to keep a smile on the party's face despite everything going to crap. Doesn't show up until very late and then just gets killed off. Ronaldo was a very important character in the game almost as important as Yamato and Alcor but with little screen time he gets killed off far too quickly and we don't get to explore his character at all. Otome was another character that had a cheerful persona despite everything she had to deal with and in the anime she spent most of her time being mopey and then getting killed. Keita... Oh Keita was just as bad in the game so nothing to add there.
Hinako, Airi, Jungo and Makoto
Each of these 4 had a pretty strong bond with the main character and admired him a lot for different reasons and Makoto and Hibiki had a very close bond in the game which is why you are pretty gutted if you get her killed. You won't see that here as Makoto had the hots for Yamato instead when their relationship was never like that at all in fact she had deep and conflicting reasons for following his orders none of that was shown here. Hinako really values friendship and had worries as the crisis makes her re-evaulate what she has been doing in life yet again not shown in the anime at all. Jungo and Airi were not too bad actually and they were pretty similar to their game versions but as with the other characters they were a lot deeper than their anime counterparts but most of the 1/10 is thanks to these two.
She gets a special mention because her anime counterpart was emotionless and pretty dull and nothing at all like her character in the game she was very awful indeed. Nearly as bad as Io Nitta and Hibiki. She is a quirky individual who shares some traits of Okabe Rintarou from Steins gate and she is in some of the funniest scnes in the game however the only great thing about Fumi in the anime was her reaction to her impending death. 'So this is death hmmm' I think this anime gets the award for best female death ever.
Not too bad but they did change far too much to push the Yaoi bait side of his character which was sad and didn't really explore why Alcor is so lonely and what his name actually represents in fact it didn't tell you what any of the seppies represent at all in the anime for some reason.
Grumpy, stoic I have to be evil because it is the right thing to do but don't worry Yamato Hibiki will teach you the error of your ways with a little yaoi loving. The best way to describe Yamato is a 'magnificent bastard' he was a crafty individual whose relationship with Hibiki in the game was pretty damn funny and it developed really well as he grew to respect Hibiki over time. None of that was shown here and the awesome Yamato that we know from the game was reduced to this stereotypical rubbish *Blergh* Excuse me while I go off and vomit.
Why did this get a 3/10 overall its because to me 5/10 is an average series and this series was clearly below average and it is just a series that doesn't really appeal to anybody in the end hence the low score. While I enjoy anime to me games still have vastly superior stories as they are creative and try to implement new story elements and create new types of characters. This anime is a prime example of what is wrong with the anime industry not that all anime is bad just some of it is and this anime shows what is wrong with it. It sticks to stereotyping and ruins decent characters and didn't have the guts to try and go for a 2nd season when this anime desperately needed to have more time for the anime adapatation.
In the end its a disappointing waste of time so do the right thing ignore the existence of this garbage and spend your money on the game that is true treat and this anime shall be remembered as how not to do an anime adapation. The game is difficult though so anyone who isn't too great with their SRPGs should use a guide but the game is rich and both character and setting so don't let this terrible anime put you off it.
LUCIFER AND SATAN HUG
everything else was shit tho
animation sucks, plot sucks and doesn't follow the games, and there's no autocorrect on this website so I look like a fucking tool